10 Books for College Graduates

A startling statistic once revealed that almost half of college graduates never pick up a book again after graduating.

But some books can be so influential that they can affect your outlook and career, so one wonders how those who never picked up a book again fared in the real world (or whether those a part of the statistic had participated in the survey from a cardboard box).

Here are 10 books that post-undergraduate students should read:

1. What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles

This book has been a time-tested help, aiding people in finding jobs and careers for nearly 40 years. It’s a cool little book that allows you to take notes and interact with the text. And there’s a new edition every year!

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2. What Should I Do With My Life? by Po Bronson

This is an inspirational book because it presents different stories of how people found careers (and ultimately lives) that they love.

3. The Chicago Guide to Your Academic Career by John A. Goldsmith, John Komlos, Penny Schine Gold

If you are thinking about going to graduate school, this is the book to read. It gives you an overview of everything you need to think about and hurdles that might come up along the way.

4. The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman

For those post-grads deeply concerned about their financial situation, they should pick up this book from the library (or at half.com). It covers everything “Generation Debt” should be concerned about, from 401k to FICO scores.

5. Emily Post’s Etiquette by Lizzie Post, and Daniel Post Senning

College etiquette generally involves such things as “five-second rules” and “he who smelt it, dealt it.” However, when you get out into the real world, you may have questions about what to include in your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, appropriate cell phone use, and dress codes for particular business occasions. This book answers everything.

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6. Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris

Unless you get your dream job right away and are swimming in coinage like Scrooge McDuck on “DuckTales,” you probably are going to face some financial strain your first couple of years out of school (especially when those student loans turn up like dog poo in the spring, after all of the winter snow melts). Comedian and actress Amy Sedaris has some hilarious ideas on gifts for people, and bonus, a lot of these gift ideas are “green.” See also: I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence for ideas on how to throw parties and other get-togethers on a budget.

7. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

You’ll probably receive this as a graduation gift at some point in your life, whether it’s from high school or college. It doesn’t take too long to read, so break it out and get some inspiration from one of literature’s greatest word wizards. It translates to any student of any age.

8. Roadtrip Nation by Mike Marriner and Nathan Gebhard with Joanne Gordon

Two college graduates take informational interviewing on the road—literally—traveling across the country to speak with everyone from the chairman of Starbucks to Madonna’s chief stylist. The goal: to find out how these individuals had achieved success.

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9. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

Yes, another children’s book, but this one, too, is for any age. When it comes to dealing with relationships, this one is especially helpful, more so than a lot of self-help books (take that, He’s Just Not That Into You).

10. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow

What would you do if you only had a few moments left on the planet? Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch gave this inspirational “last lecture” before dying of cancer in 2008.

There’s a lot of debate about physical books versus e-books, but the important thing is to just keep reading. It stimulates your mind and sometimes inspires you to achieve things you never thought possible.